Obviously, this is a meme that Democrats hope to exploit to their advantage; take the fringiest elements of the tea party (and yes, as with all movements, there are some) and attempt to portray them as the face of the party as a whole.
But it won't work. Independents are so angry at the Obama administration (and Democrats) that they have a much higher tolerance for the "scare tactics" Democrats regularly employ.
What's more, if the GOP has any sense, it will welcome the influx of energy, princple and commitment from the tea party -- just as a dessicated old "me too but less" GOP of the late '70's welcomed Reaganite conservatives to its enormous political and policy benefit.
Remember the old Democrat talking points, about how the tea party was going to divide the Republicans and the split vote would help Democrats? We don't hear so much of that now. That's because it isn't happening (except when it comes to Democrat tampering, and an electoral tsunami looks to be bearing down on the Dems and their hapless president without delay.
Better luck next time, guys.